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Sam says Tigers thriving after fresh start

In only a way that Sam Harrison can, the Tigers scrum-half breaks down the 'summer slog' so far this pre-season with LTTV while in camp with his team-mates on an army base in Aldershot.

In rugby terms, there is no pre-season interview quite like one with Sam Harrison.

The Tigers scrum-half is unashamedly a non-fan when it comes to the grafting under a summer sun, despite his love for the warmer weather, and if you ask the Leicester veteran about it he will tell you exactly how he feels.

Thankfully, for fans, as he heads in to his eleventh pre-season schedule with the club, Harrison has once again not let us down when he spoke to LTTV in camp with the squad at an army base in Aldershot.

"It has been good ... I've settled back in, got a bit of fitness back," he said.

"It's good to be back with all the lads who are a lot younger than me."

Despite not yet being in his 30s, Harrison has seen the largest-ever promotion from the club's academy and a drop in the average age within the playing ranks. It's those at the top of the tree – even at 29 – looking around, wondering where it all went, so quickly!

However, it appears the ruthless approach from Tigers head coach Geordan Murphy and his coaching staff is not forgiving of those in the double digits of pre-season campaigns - even if they themselves feel 'more used to' the grind.

"You get more used to it, but they definitely know you get used to it so they find another way to screw you over," Harrison told LTTV. "And that's exactly what they've been doing!"

Among those new, fresher faces in the group are scrum-half duo Jonny Law and Jack van Poortvliet.

The Tigers Academy graduates have stepped up to the development squad ahead of the new season and join four more home-grown nines in Harrison himself, international Ben Youngs, and young guns Ben White and Harry Simmons in the top grade.

On early effort, Harrison is impressed by what he has seen from the duo and is attempting to stay young through them.

"They're both very enthusiastic and that's the thing you do want ... for them to have energy when you don't have any whatsoever," he said.

"I do feel a bit older in the group, in rugby terms. I'm very, very young in the real world!

"There is definitely a very good young group of lads who I try to tag along with to make myself younger. I think they know that and feel sorry for me."

While those youngsters may feel sorry for the statesman in age terms, fans across social media have shared their enjoyment at seeing the lads 'flogged' in the summer heat alongside sympathising with their heroes for their efforts in the gruelling heat.

“It's good to be back with all the lads who are a lot younger than me.”

Harrison, however, is enjoying the weather – just not all menu items available in such conditions.

"It has been hot, but you can't complain, I quite like it," said Harrison.

"We have got chicken balti for lunch in thirty degree heat, I don't really fancy that right now."

Harrison enjoyed plenty of success during his own early years at the club but, in recent seasons, has not seen as much silverware in a Tigers shirt.

With what the 29-year-old describes as things "out of our control" sorted, he says the mood and commitment are as good as ever.

"I think the coaches have been leading the way. There does seem to be a bit more of a buzz within the coaches themselves, which is reflecting on us as players," he said.

"I feel like now things have been sorted, it's allowed the coaches to get knuckled down with us as our players. The standards are higher and I think players thrive in that environment."

When quizzed on whether he was excited for the upcoming season, the experienced scrum-half replied without hesitation: "Definitely!"

"As a group, there will be a genuine excitement, as opposed to the last few years ... I do feel this year, genuinely, there will be the excitement that is is a new start now.

"We've got so much ahead of us as a group."

Watch the full interview with Harrison above on LTTV and CLICK HERE to check out interviews with Tigers head coach Geordan Murphy, new recruit Jaco Taute and back-rower Guy Thompson from inside the squad's pre-season camp, including behind-the-scenes vision of the hard work being done.